Microsoft preparing a digital wallet service?


As Google’s Wallet is making its way into retail segments, Microsoft is apparently also working on a NFC digital payment service.

The US Patent and Trademark Office just released a patent filing from September of last year, in which Microsoft describes a “Mobile Wallet and Digital payment” service.

The filing covers a “method that facilitates securing a wireless digital transaction” for “at least one of a good or a service.” Microsoft refers to mobile devices that “can include at least one mobile payment card (m-card), wherein the m-card is created by establishing a PKC-secured link to an account associated with a form of currency.” The link between a mobile device and a terminal is created via NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or RFID writes Douglas Perry.

Microsoft’s “m-card” feature is similar to a virtual credit card whose data is transmitted to a payment terminal using ‘upon request’. Only a portion of the m-card is sent to and received by the payment terminal, which will then be authenticated by the organization that issued m-card and associated it with “at least one of a bank, a credit card company, an investment fund, an online brokerage, a web site, a business, a company or a financial institution.” To authorize a transaction, a user may have to press “a physical input button that can initiate a password entry, a payment or a password entry completion.”

To protect users against fraud, Microsoft suggests a “next-generation secure computing base (NGSCB) with a secure boot mechanism and host a virtual machine (VM) environment,” which works in combination with hardware that is compatible to specifications of the Trusted Computing Group (TCG). The company also notes that an m-card device would limit its “interaction with a keypad and/or a screen on the mobile device to a single virtual machine” and the technology may employ a threat detection feature that will leverage an “online clearing agent to alert at least one of a bank, [..] a mobile device service provider, a certifying authority, or the terminal component of a theft related to at least one of a portion of data on the mobile device”.

There was no information whether Microsoft is implementing NFC-based digital wallets in its Windows products anytime soon, but it is now obvious that the company has the necessary technology to do so.